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Pressure Cooker Tortellini en Brodo

Sorry about the heavy rotation of pressure cooker recipes. The stomach flu flattened us. A simple broth and pasta soup is all I can handle right now.

When I make soup, more is better. Everything goes in the pot. What do I have in the refrigerator and pantry? Onions, celery, carrots, peppers, cabbage; noodles, rice, leftover chicken, beans, some sausage. Add it all to the soup pot. Throw in some herbs and spices for good measure. Simmer until the flavors mingle, taste for seasoning, then serve.

Tortellini en Brodo is minimalist soup. Clear broth and noodles stuffed with cheese, it is as simple as soup gets.

Simple doesn’t leave any place to hide. The broth has to be good for this soup to have any chance. And homemade broth is so far from canned broth that you can see the curve of the horizon.

That’s where my pressure cooker comes in. It gives me great brodo in about an hour. A mix of beef and chicken adds depth to the simple broth, and a parmesan rind gives it a hint of funk. The ground beef? It acts like the raft does in a consomme, clarifying the broth while it cooks.

For the tortellini, homemade would be best…but I’ve never learned rolling skills, and don’t have an Italian grandmother to teach me.

So, next best is from your local Italian market. They’ll have tortellini, probably homemade by someone’s Nonna, frozen and ready for you.

If you’re stuck, grocery store tortellini is acceptable. I like Barilla dried tortellini, or Butioni fresh tortellini. Homemade broth makes up for average tortellini.

No pressure cooker? No worries. See the notes section for stovetop and slow cooker broth instructions.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Tortellini en Brodo

Adapted From: Fine Cooking Magazine, Tortellini en brodo

Cooking time: 75 minutes




  • 1 pound chicken wings
  • 1 pound oxtail (or beef shank)
  • 8 ounces ground chuck (80% lean ground beef)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and halved
  • 1 stalk of celery, halved
  • 1 parmesan rind (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt (1 teaspoon table salt)
  • 2 quarts of water
  • 12 ounces tortellini (frozen, fresh, or dried)
  • freshly grated parmesan cheese


1. Make the brodo
Put all the brodo ingredients in the pressure cooker pot. Lock the lid, bring the pressure cooker up to high pressure, and cook for 45 minutes at high pressure (55 minutes in an electric pressure cooker). Let the pressure come down naturally for 15 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure. Remove as much of the solids from the pot as possible using a slotted spoon, then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer.

2. Cook the tortellini
Wipe the inside of the pressure cooker pot clean. Pour the broth back into the pressure cooker pot and bring to a simmer over high heat. Add the tortellini and cook according to pacakge instructions. Taste the broth, and season to taste, adding more salt if needed. Serve, sprinkling the grated parmesan cheese on top at the table.


  • No pressure cooker? No worries – but make sure you have some time.
  • On the stovetop, do step 1 in a large pot. Bring the broth to a simmer, then move the pot to a preheated 200°F oven and bake for four to six hours, uncovered. Remove from the oven, strain the broth, then pour the broth back into the pot and move to the stovetop to cook the tortellini.
  • Or, do step 1 in a slow cooker – put everything in the crock, and cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Strain the broth, then put it in a pot on the stove to cook the tortellini.
  • Don’t forget to season to taste! The broth will taste flat without enough salt. You’d be surprised how much salt you need to season two quarts of water. Add salt until the flavor of the broth changes, from flat and boring to a little sweet and full of body. I usually add another teaspoon or two of kosher salt (1/2 to 1 teaspoon of table salt) when I’m tasting. (Oh, and a splash of balsamic vinegar, while cheating, adds a nice touch of acid to the broth.)
  • Make ahead: The broth will come out clearer if you make the broth the day before, refrigerate the broth overnight, and skim off the layer of fat that congeals on the surface. Bring the stock back to a boil before starting step 2.
  • Extra finesse: If you want the clearest broth, combine making the stock ahead with blanching the chicken wings and oxtail. Put the wings and oxtail in a medium pot, barely cover them with cold water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Immediately drain the meat, rinse with cold water to remove any attached scum, and then continue with step 1. Then, use the “make ahead” option to skim the fat from the top of the broth.

What do you think? Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Pressure Cooker Chicken Broth
Pressure Cooker Pasta and Beans
Pressure Cooker Pho Bo

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  1. So the ground beef acts as an in-pot scum filter? Very interesting. I too thought this seemed high on sacrificial protein. Is any of it useful after the brodo is done or has the liquid extracted all the flavor out by the time it’s done?

  2. Our family pronounces this recipe a firm “10.” We loved the Brodo – I added a little more chicken broth to balance the flavor for our taste. I used beef shank; I think oxtail or short rib meat would have had a little deeper flavor, but it was fine.

    What I wonder is how you, Mike, and Fine Cooking, arrived at such a lovely golden-colored broth using these meats (my chicken wings were quite pale. Creative license for the camera? I had to add some turmeric to correct the color. I remember a time when the skin of chicken wings, parts, and whole chicken was actually golden-hued. Nevertheless, the soup was delicious and a big hit. A few drops of lemon juice at the end didn’t hurt either. And once you’ve shopped for the ingredients, very quick and easy to make.

    I served it with a tomato and cucumber salad.

    Also, I agree that chilling the broth before removing the fat cap is the way to go. Thank you, Mike, for another winner!

    • You’re welcome. I didn’t do much to the picture – I always bump up the saturation a bit, because I like the colors to pop – but what you see is what I got. (It probably helped that I used the white bowl to make the yellow stand out more.)

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